The fall of network TV

With the start of fall comes much anticipated television network premieres. Major broadcasting networks debuted new series to compete with the established streaming community. Fox’s Minority Report, Scream Queens & Rosewood, ABC’s The Muppets, NBC’s Heroes Reborn, Blindspot & The Player, and CBS’ Limitless & Life in Pieces were expecting high ratings, but most did not meet expectations. The Muppets and Rosewood were the two exceptions.

With Netflix growing to over 65 million subscribers, the streaming platform has started to gain control of the TV market. AdAge reported every single TV network drama that aired on Tuesday night suffered a double-digit decline in ratings. One theory that could explain the drop in numbers is the Media Ecology theory.

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Media Ecology theory is defined as the study of complex communication systems as environments, furthermore, how the medium in which the message is delivered is equally as — if not more — important as the message, itself. In this case, Netflix is taking advantage of its medium by being more convenient for the consumer. Viewers can stream content on multiple devices, anywhere, at anytime. According to Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, all TV will move online by 2030, proving true to the theory.

While Netflix is currently thriving, network TV still has an appeal to viewers. Families still watch TV together and the anticipation of a new episode each week brings viewers back; a few disadvantages of Netflix. Although streaming is convenient, some viewers appreciate the ability to follow a show together as a community. However, Hastings believes the transition to an online platform is “kind of like a horse – you know, the horse was good until we had the car.”


With networks still releasing shows next week, will they follow the current decline of network TV? As a viewer, do you prefer an online platform or network TV?

– Nick, Melanie, Mary & Patrick

7 thoughts on “The fall of network TV

  1. While I do enjoy the ability to watch some of my favorite shows or movies whenever I want by a click of a button, I still enjoy watching series that appear just on TV. I agree that families especially enjoy watching TV series together. Every summer my family and I sit down and watch America’s got Talent together. It is something we have always done and I really enjoy it. I don’t think my summers would be the same if we didn’t do it, so I am definitely a fan of TV. TV has brought me memories and fun times that Netflix has not.

  2. Can you be shocked though? Originally, my family used Netflix to rent DVDs through the mail. Now, we use it on our Smart TVs, iPads, and computers. Cable is also becoming obsolete because of the amount of “Netflix Originals” that are being produced. People who don’t have Netlix end up buying in to it so they can watch that “House of Cards” (or any other Netflix Original) their friends are all raving about.

  3. I personally would much rather stream a TV show on Netflix rather than watching it live on TV. This is mainly because I can’t stand watching commercials but also because waiting a week to see what happens after an episode ends in a cliffhanger can be too much for some shows. I would much rather wait a few months for the show to be on Netflix than watching it at the same time as everyone else. I don’t think its surprising at all that networks are seeing such dramatic declines in ratings because a lot of millennials would also prefer to have something streamed to their laptop or smart TV commercial free.

  4. I recently completely cancelled my cable. I have a Roku TV and love it more than cable! Roku allows for so much opportunity. For someone like me I don’t watch a lot of TV so “apps” like NETFLIX and Hulu is amazing! I can watch most of my favorite shows on MY TIME, and even better, without commercials. Things like HBO has made it possible to pay a subscription to them and only them, instead of only getting in if you have a cable or DirectTV service. Online television streaming is the direction that we are headed in. Its cheaper and more beneficial for the viewers. Watch out Time Warner!

  5. Me and my roommates love watching netflix because it’s easier to follow with all of our schedules being different it is extremely convenient to be able to watch whenever we all have the time together. Although, I do appreciate regular tv watching too much netflix makes me feel like i am in an alternative universe and when I watch tv its a whole new world with commercials and what not lol.

  6. I am not surprised at all about the rise in Netflix and similar products. I grew up watching local channels and never saw a single bit of cable TV. My parents knew it to be a big waste of money. Some channels, such as ABC Family, have played the same 6-10 movies every single weekend. While Netflix, or Hulu, offer viewers to take control of what they want to watch and when they want to watch, and how fast they want to watch it (no commercials). No one wants to sit around and wait a whole week or two before watching the next episode. So why not sit down and watch The Walking Dead in one whole sitting?

  7. As a viewer and college student, I prefer to watch on an online platform as it’s much cheaper for a Netflix and Hulu Plus subscription rather than cable subscription. Most shows that I enjoy watching normally have the new episode up on Hulu Plus the next day so I can stay caught up and be able to talk to friends about the most recent episode and avoid spoilers online. Also with Netlfix I can watch shows my friends have watched without commercial breaks and with Netflix making lots of Netflix Originals now, it’s becoming a much more viable option than getting cable.

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